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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can Anything Be Worse Than Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album?

Posted by on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 12:54 PM

This e-mail just landed in my inbox:

New music for you: Fifty Shades of Grey - The Classical Album

EMI Classics will release Fifty Shades of Grey - The Classical Album, a 15-track album featuring classical music personally selected by author E L James herself and referenced in her bestselling Fifty Shades book trilogy. The album will be available in the U.S. and Canada digitally on August 21st and in CD format on September 18th. The album will be released internationally in both formats on September 17th.

Is this the worst piece of mail I've received? Maybe! What a pointless, money-grabbing load of poop. "Listen to these pieces of classical music while reading my horrifically written pseudo erotica!"* The album includes (to name a few) Bach, Debussy, Chopin, and Verdi. You know, you can listen to classical music without the help of an insipid novel.

Stephanie Meyer did this, too. She released a list of songs she hears in her head while reading Twilight (Coldplay! Linkin Park! David Gray! Collective Soul! Barf!). And L. Ron Hubbard went a step further, making his own book soundtrack for Battlefield Earth (book expert Paul Constant tells me the album is called Space Jazz, it was released in 1982).

But maybe I'm just being cranky. I should appreciate that books and music are colliding in such a way. I'd love to see more authors supply playlists that could go along with their words. Wouldn't that be great, if all your favorite books came with the option to buy an accompanying soundtrack, carefully chosen by the author? I would love that! But for now, why is it always the bad books that come with (mostly) bad music!?

That said, Fifty Shades of Grey and some classical music isn't the worst thing in the world, I suppose. Certainly there are worse books that would supply worse soundtracks. Let's take a poll!

And when you're done voting, which books do you think would have a totally wonderful soundtrack?

*FWIW: I haven't read the whole book, just a few passages. They were terrible.


Comments (15) RSS

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Fnarf 1
The soundtrack to Limbaugh's book is George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" with a skip on the chorus.
Posted by Fnarf on August 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
Is anyone else sick to death of this book? I really want to start burning all the copies of it....and the people who read it and enjoy it.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Keister Button 3
Not much near the point, but I found it impossible to read Anna Karenina while funk music played in the background.

>>Wouldn't that be great, if all your favorite books came with the option to buy an accompanying soundtrack, carefully chosen by the author?<<

The closest I came to this was, a website that suggests movies, TV, books, games from the established tastes the user inputs. Or several Haruki Murakami novels in which characters listen to music (1Q84, Janacek's Sinfonietta; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, "The Thieving Magpie" overture).
Posted by Keister Button on August 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
I heard that if you read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz really fast and listen to Dark Side of the Moon at half speed, it syncs up perfectly.
Posted by jzimbert on August 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
this is no worse than pixar toys at mcdonalds.

if it gets some lumpen hausfrau to the symphony once or twice, it's a net plus for the planet.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Would it be safe to assume this "soundtrack" is simply a rendition of Ravel's "Bolero" played on endless loop?
Posted by COMTE on August 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Tracy 7
After reading the delightfully strange little "Light Boxes" by Shane Johnson, I found an author Q & A in which he mentioned that a musician had written some music inspired by his novel.

Some of these worked very well, I thought. Pleasant discovery.
Posted by Tracy on August 7, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 8
more like 'christian' music, right?
Posted by scary tyler moore on August 7, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 9
Did you also know that it's the Polovestian Dance #2 by Borodin?
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on August 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Actually I think the one good thing about Fifty Shades is that the music she refers to in the book is pretty good. I'd consider buying the album but not the book.

The others: Rush Limbaugh's producer uses strangely good music on his show, so I'm ok there. Eat, Pray, Love-- I think a few Italian opera excerpts and some gamelan music sounds like a reasonable album, a little dull but not painful. Scientology could be anything-- if it's Tom Cruise singing, yuck, but if it's the soundtrack to Grease or Saturday Night Fever or Pulp Fiction, I can deal with that. The Bible soundtrack would presumably be the same chants one hears in synagogues, again a little dull but not painful. I know nothing about Cook to Bang.
Posted by MarBeth on August 7, 2012 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Posted by aiff on August 7, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Report this
Greg 12
Debussy and Bach have survived car commercials and elevators. This eye roll-inducing tie-in won't harm the music, though fans are better off buying them individually so the super-embarrassing cover doesn't show up in their living rooms or iPods.

In general, soundtracks to books are a cool idea. I love coming up with songs that go with certain books. Hell, I just made a playlist for The Hunger Games. Go ahead, laugh. I'll wait.
Posted by Greg on August 7, 2012 at 10:41 PM · Report this
Not worst (in my opinion) but best is Robert Rankin's "Sprout Mask Replica" while listening to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica.
Posted by amerlinh on August 8, 2012 at 6:25 AM · Report this
My job is cataloguing the fiction at the library, and , actually, it seems like every third book of "urban fantasy" has a soundtrack listing in the back, and I see soundtracks pop up in dozens of "cozy mysteries", "paranormal romances"...even quilting novels. This wouldn't seem like such a new idea to you, Megan, if you read enough really shitty fiction.
Posted by ratzkywatzky on August 8, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
It's actually taken me about 30 books before I found a novel with a playlist today, but I finally found one, and, yes, it's paranormal romance. The soundtrack to Taste Me by Tamara Hogan includes Gene Loves Jezebel, Nelly Furtado, Elastica, Berlin, Queens of the Stone Age, Depeche Mode, INXS, Michelle Branch and Bonnie Raitt.
Posted by ratzkywatzky on August 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this

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